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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Ethics group says House GOP leaders going soft on Radel



Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint today against Rep. Trey Radel with the Office of Congressional Ethics. Radel, R-Fort Myers, said last night he will take a leave from his job to get treatment for his drug and alcohol problem, though he never directly conceded he has a cocaine problem.

“The remarkably sympathetic treatment Rep. Radel is receiving from the House Republican conference stands in stark contrast to the treatment of low-level, mostly poor and minority drug offenders,” CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan said in a release. “What is more hypocritical than voting to drug test food stamp and public housing recipients, but brushing aside the drug use of House members?”

The group accused House GOP leaders of taking a soft approach to Radel and contradicting past calls for "zero tolerance" toward ethics violations.

"Rep. Radel’s conduct violates the Code of Ethics for Government Service as well as House Rule 23, which requires all members of the House to conduct themselves “at all times in a manner that reflects creditably on the House.”

A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner said on Tuesday: "Members of Congress should be held to the highest standards, and the alleged crime will be handled by the courts. Beyond that, this is between Rep. Radel, his family, and his constituents."

[Last modified: Thursday, November 21, 2013 2:07pm]


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